Carl Frampton's world title ambitions have received a huge boost with WBC super-bantamweight champion Leo Santa Cruz making the Belfast fighter his number one target.
Unbeaten Mexican Santa Cruz retained his title in San Antonio Texas with a unanimous points victory over Cesar Seda and then made it clear that he wants a showdown with Belfast man Frampton.
When asked who he expected to fight next, Santa Cruz said: "I hope to fight Carl Frampton next. He has been calling me out and I think that would be a great fight."
Frampton's manager Barry McGuigan revealed there have been initial talks between both camps about the possibility of Santa Cruz-Frampton, with American television giant Showtime very keen to see it happen.
McGuigan, who this weekend travels with Frampton to watch Kiko Martinez defend his IBF World title against South African Jeffrey Mathebula, said: "We're very excited by what the champion had to say, it just shows you were Carl is now. When the champion is calling you and doesn't mention anyone else it says a lot.
"Carl is up to number two in the WBC so it is a realistic option and my son Jake was out at the recent WBC convention in Thailand and spoke to the vice president of Golden Boy Promotions and they made it clear that it is fight they would love to see happen.
"They are also keen to bring some of their stable of boxers to the UK and Golden Boy would be happy to co-promote with myself and what a fight that would be – it would have to be at somewhere like Ravenhill."
Frampton's number one aim remains the IBF belt, though if Martinez is victorious it would probably take an astronomical purse to bring him back to Belfast – having been knocked out by Frampton in February this year.
McGuigan said: "We will make the champion a substantial offer next weekend, the IBF title has been the one we have wanted all along but the Santa Cruz fight is a great option to have."